MCLEAN, Va.—DoubleTree by Hilton’s chocolate chip cookie is on track to become the first food baked in space inside a prototype oven designed to make long-duration space travel more hospitable.
Later this year, DoubleTree by Hilton will make aerospace history when a batch of DoubleTree cookie dough is launched along with the prototype oven in a rocket bound for the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a microgravity experiment. The cookie will be baked in the week following launch and will be available to watch via NASA’s livestream of the ISS. Working in partnership with Zero G Kitchen, which creates appliances for microgravity use in long-duration space flights, and NanoRacks, a provider of commercial access to space, Hilton will be the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard the space station.
The move harkens back to Hilton’s 1967 plans at the height of the Space Race for a hotel on the moon, said Shawn McAteer, senior vice president and global brand head of DoubleTree by Hilton.
“Hilton has long been an industry innovator, and as we celebrate our 100th year, we’re excited to send our hospitality into orbit,” McAteer said. “The simple gesture of a warm cookie welcome is a favorite of DoubleTree guests around the world, and now we are sharing that moment of hospitality as part of this experiment aboard the International Space Station.”
Ian and Jordana Fichtenbaum, the husband and wife team at Zero G Kitchen responsible for the space oven concept, said the DoubleTree Cookie was their first thought when they began imagining the creation of an oven to make space travel more comfortable.
“Opening up the frontier of space means making it relatable to people’s everyday lives, and what could be more relatable than a freshly baked cookie?” said Ian Fichtenbaum, co-chef and co-founder of Zero G Kitchen. “When we first concepted the oven, we naturally thought of DoubleTree by Hilton and its signature Cookie. It is the perfect treat to bring a warm welcome to space.”
DoubleTree by Hilton will also partner with Scholastic to develop an educational program related to hospitality in space for 50,000 middle school classrooms across the United States. This supports Hilton’s Open Doors Pledge, the company’s commitment to connecting, preparing, or employing at least one million young people by 2019. The program and accompanying curriculum, which includes a lesson and activity sheet, will focus on better understanding the challenges of living and working in space, and encourage students to think creatively about what innovations need to occur to ensure long-duration space travel is comfortable and hospitable.
To accompany these efforts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Scholastic will launch a student contest this fall asking U.S. middle school students to submit their own innovative proposal for making life in space more hospitable. Prizes will include a cash award, iPad, and, for teachers, a complimentary stay at any DoubleTree by Hilton location.